Night Out
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Alison Jones crawls out of her cardboard box during a previous year's Night Out for Homeless Youth.

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Urban Peak’s Night Out

If all the students from the beautifully designed Discovery Canyon Campus’ elementary, middle and high schools stood up at once and offered their desk to a local homeless student, nearly all of the seats would be taken.

The Colorado Department of Education counted 21,943 pre-K through 12th grade public school students across the state as homeless in school year 2016/2017. That included 1,911 students here in El Paso County living in shelters, transitional housing programs, trailers, motels, doubled up with family or living without shelter.

Locally, 30 percent more students (121 youths) were unsheltered than in the previous school year.

Community planning initiatives must strategize with schools as well as family and youth serving organizations to understand what infrastructure and supportive programs can prevent children and teens now homeless from becoming homeless adults in the 2020s.

Students have the chance to make a difference this winter by getting involved in Urban Peak’s Night Out to End Youth Homelessness on Thursday. Several students from Discovery Canyon Campus, Manitou Springs High School and others are sleeping outside so that homeless youths can come inside from the cold.

Shawna Kemppainen

Urban Peak Colorado Springs

Challenging birthright citizenship

The Washington Examiner’s editorial denouncing President Donald Trump’s decision to challenge so-called birthright citizenship reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the judicial process. Yes, there are policy and legal arguments supporting birthright citizenship, but there also are policy and legal arguments opposing birthright citizenship. An executive order banning birthright citizenship will set in motion a process by which the Supreme Court will decide whether Section 1 of Amendment XIV confers birthright citizenship.

For arguments challenging birthright citizenship, I refer you to “Birthright Citizenship: A Fundamental Misunderstanding of the 14th Amendment,” an article by Hans von Spakovsky in the Oct. 30 edition of ”The Daily Signal”.

Philip Neal

Colorado Springs

Prime examples of uncivility

With less than a week to go until the most important midterm election of our lives, much is being made of a lack of respect between candidates — and individuals — and a pervasive, general incivility. This is sadly accurate, and here are but a few examples:

“The people are going to turn on them. They’re going to protest. They’re going to absolutely harass them.” — Maxine Waters, about members of the Trump administration

“When they go low, we kick ‘em. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.” — Eric Holder

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about...if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.” — twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

“I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” — Madonna

Harassment in restaurants, coffee bars and movie theaters, shouting down and assaulting invited speakers on college campuses, participating in intimidating, violent mobs, and the list goes on and on.

This is what representatives of the Democratic Party have devolved into: remember it before deciding to allow them more power.

Jeff Faltz

Colorado Springs

Information on church security

I recommend that Barry Fagin attend the Sheepdog Seminar to be held in Pueblo, because there is more involved in church or synagogue safety than “concealed carry.” A better solution is for a church or synagogue to set up a dedicated safety team. The leaders of the safety team would select and vet the potential candidates. Carl Chinn, church security expert, is developing a standardized program for safety teams. Among the items, each potential candidate would undergo a background check. They should have a documented plan of training and qualification. The church or synagogue attorney should review liability insurance and ensure that team members are covered.

In all likelihood, the team members would have radios to communicate during normal services and potential times where there might be an potential issue. In addition to a safety team, the church or synagogue would wish to review their physical security and potentially make changes.

The team members may have different roles including those who can provide first aid as their primary responsibility. Other team members may be unarmed and only provide alerts and warning of issues. Among the standard programs, team members after a period of evaluation, would undergo the Red Cross first aid training, they would learn to policies and procedures and legal limits on what they can and can’t do, then they would potentially undergo firearms training, and pass a pistol qualification test. Periodically, the team members qualified to carry firearms would again undergo periodic requalification. One church requires the safety team members to pass the basic FBI field agent pistol qualification course to qualify to carry a firearm. The team members would spend time practicing responses.

Finally, there is a Faith Based Coalition in Colorado where houses of worship meet to exchange best practices and potentially send out alerts on problem situations. I urge Fagin to take his education on this topic to the next level.

Richard R. Allen

Colorado Springs

Program was an eye-opener

Having just completed the Community Advancing Public Safety program sponsored by the Colorado Springs police and fire departments, I can tell you that anyone who does not believe that our men and women in uniform have our backs, needs to take this course. What an eye-opener! This is an 11-week program, one evening a week, which brings you up close and personal with the departments in our police and fire operations. We learned just how they interact with each other, and backed by a multitude of citizen volunteers and paid staff; ensure the safety of our community. We had demonstrations of over 20 units that handle everything from traffic, homicides, domestic violence, homeless outreach, human trafficking, SWAT, and more.

I would recommend that anyone who wants to become better informed and involved in the safety and well-being of our community sign up for programs put on by If we had a better understanding of what it takes to protect a community such as ours, we would show much more appreciation for the dedication and courage that our men and women display in facing the risks inherent with their respective jobs. I know I do.

Chuck Haley

Colorado Springs

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